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No evolution. No cognition

Pitchford, Ian (2001) No evolution. No cognition. Evolution and Cognition, 7 (1). pp. 39-45. ISSN 0938-2623

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Although scholars in the natural and human sciences will generally disavow any belief in distinct material and immaterial substances contemporary debates are phrased largely in terms that would have been familiar to the Greek philosophers, and which still divide human characteristics into 'divine' or 'transcendent' attributes--in modern terminology the surrogate terms are rational, cognitive, discursive, autonomous and creative--and 'animal' or 'corporeal' attributes--the surrogates being emotional, instinctive, determined, immutable, and bounded. This essential dualism preserves the three key dichotomies of mind/body, cognition/emotion and nature/nurture found in many, if not most, discussions of human nature. Neuroevolutionary psychobiology's concern to divide the brain into determined affective components and unbounded plastic neocortex by employing such concepts as 'exaptations', 'spandrels', and 'emergence' resides firmly within this quasi-theological Western philosophical tradition. This dualistic approach provides no coherent foundation for the critique of evolutionary psychology.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Schools: Research and Enterprise Directorate
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Depositing User: Ian Pitchford
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2016 16:18
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 12:05


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